Monday, September 14, 2009

UFOs One Year at a Time: 1997- The Phoenix Lights

The Phoenix Lights, 1997, Arizona

UFO researchers and writers today are tantalized by the increasing reports of alien abduction, possible photographs of alien beings, physical trace cases, and implant removals. In a way we have become spoiled-expecting the sensational. This desire for ultimate proof has caused us to overlook the seemingly mundane, everyday reports of night lights, which were at one time sensational in their own right. With the ever growing technology of our era, pictures and video are often times called into question because of the ease of manipulation and creation afforded computer graphics experts. Called into question, that is, by those who are waiting in the wings to debunk any and all visible proof of UFOs as suspect of being hoaxed. This is especially true in cases with one or two photos taken by one witness. This has always been a pitfall to researchers who scratch and claw for authentication of a particular photograph or video.

There are, however, those cases which have multiple photographs of the same object, taken by many witnesses. This type of case carries the heaviest weight for those who remain on neutral ground on the subject of UFOs. One of the best of these is the Phoenix, Arizona lights case of 1997. Supported by many photographs and videos, this fantastic event is still discussed and analyzed today.

The Lights Appear

Evidence points to March 13, 1997 as the onset of this extremely compelling account of various and sundry phenomenal lights which moved over the state of Arizona. These lights, though referred to as the "Phoenix Lights," were actually witnessed in at least five other cities. Phoenix has the distinction as the first Arizona city to report the unknown light sources, which were initially spotted over Superstition Mountains, east of the city, at about 7:30 PM. The first reports indicated an object of six points of light, immediately followed by a report of eight connected lights, with a separate ninth, which moved in unison with the eight. The formation was seen again over the Gila River just before 10:00 PM. In a matter of minutes, the enormous, lighted structure had made its way over the southern part of the city of Phoenix. At this time, literally thousands of people witnessed the object or objects. It was at this time, that the first photographs and videos were taken. The final sightings of the night were in Rainbow Valley. Witnesses there reported a very distinct "V" formation. This sighting occurred at about 2:00 AM on March 14.

The Mothership
It is important to note that there are various descriptions of the lights from the Nevada border throughout Arizona. Some witnesses described a very clear "V" shape, while others said that the lights were circular or cresent-shaped. It is only common in night light cases for these differences to come to light. Many factors can attribute to these varying descriptions. One specific object can be seen from different angles, with the angle of the object only reflecting part of its light system, depending on atmospheric or weather conditions, or the very way a witness looks at the object can make this difference. It is very possible that two witnesses can see the same object at the same time, and give two completely different accounts. This fact has been proven in scientific studies of eye witnesses accounts in crime cases. Another possibility in the case in point is that there may have been several different objects of different shapes and sizes. In my own research into this case over the years, I have come to the personal conclusion that the main object over Arizona was of a circular shape, and this is corroborated by the various still and video film taken. There were other shapes observed, but it appears that the "mother-ship" was circular.

Eyewitness Accounts
Though the huge lighted formation seemed to move in a tauntingly slow speed over Arizona, it was reported that strange lights had sped from the Henderson-Las Vegas, Nevada area toward Arizona, and seemed to slow down as it entered the Arizona area. Initial reports described anywhere from 5-7 points of light, and ultimately 8 with a trailing ninth. The enormous object was extremely low, and mountainous areas could be seen behind the craft in pictures, therefore giving photographic experts scale to approximate the elevation from the ground, and the distance from the camera. This would enable an estimate of the craft being a whopping one mile or more in length! The color of its lights were described as "blue-white," to "yellow-white," to "amber." Again, these differences of description do not necessitate there being more than one object. During the crafts fast moving period, it was estimated to be moving at Mach 2-3. As it slowed down as if posing to be filmed, the speed dropped to an estimated 10-15 MPH. At one point over Sky Harbor, it reportedly hovered for several minutes. The object was also reported to change shapes, speeds, and colors, as it made its way across the skies of Arizona.

Between 9:00 and 9:30 PM on the 13th, one extraordinary description was made by a family in Mesa. They said that an enormous craft with a distinctive structure flew over their area. They described a triangle-shaped object with lights at the three corners, and another larger light in its center. Amazingly, they could clearly see panels on the craft which were in a grid pattern. There were also, about this same time, several reports of two round objects which seemed to detach from the larger "V" shaped object, only to later rejoin the mother-ship. One witness described the "V" shaped mother-ship dividing itself into two separate craft as it moved toward the city of Tucson. Another dramatic description of the mother-ship was made by a group of real estate agents who had subdivided property over the northern part of Phoenix. They would also get a close-up view of the gigantic disc. They estimated the craft to be a staggering two miles wide as it flew at a low altitude near Phoenix. They could see dozens of bright lights along the leading edges, and also a row of windows with "silhouettes of people."

It also seems highly probably that for some reason, the giant craft turned off its lights, as observers could see only the windows with what appeared to be people shadowed in the glow of the inside. Another family got a brightly lit view of the unknown object, and described its color as "flat blue-black, like the color of a shotgun barrel." Among the most reliable witnesses of the craft's movements that first night were two airplane pilots, one retired from an airline, and another from Vietnam, who was also a U. S. Marshall. Though seeing the object at different times and places, both men described a craft of "immense size," measuring up to a mile long. The Marshall could also see the city lights of Phoenix reflecting from the bottom of the massive object, while it "blocked out the stars." One of the pilots also videotaped the UFO, but had the tape confiscated in a "men in black" encounter. In a completely separate incident, a group of witnesses had reported a "huge discoid" craft which was "larger than Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University." This object was hovering just above tree tops at the west end of Sky Harbor runway between 2:00 and 3:00 AM about two weeks prior to March 13.

Military Involvement
It was almost inevitable that the United States Air Force would become involved in an event of this magnitude, and the Phoenix lights mystery would be no exception. While driving down Interstate-I-17 from Camp Verde, a truck driver had been seeing two amber colored UFOs moving ahead of him southward for two whole hours. His destination was a materials plant near Luke Air Force Base. Upon arriving there, the two UFOs hovered nearby. While his truck was being loaded, the driver walked upon a pile of materials to get a better look at the two UFOs. He could make out two identical "toy, top-like amber orbs" with a white glow to them. A band of red lights pulsated on the craft as it hovered near the Luke AFB runway. Suddenly, two F-16s "blasted out of Luke with their afterburners on full." Soon, a third plane followed, and all three made a direct run toward the hovering UFOs. As the first two jets were about to reach the UFOs, the unknown objects shot straight upward, and disappeared "in an instant."

The two jets flew right through the exact spot the UFOs had previously occupied. A Luke ground crewman later confirmed to NUFORC that the driver's account was true. He also stated that upon returning to the base runway, one of the pilots had to be helped from his cockpit. He was visibly shaken from what had just happened. According to Peter Davenport of the NUFORC one of the more intriguing reports was submitted by a young man who claimed to be an Airman stationed at Luke Air Force Base, located to the west of Phoenix in Litchfield Park. He telephoned the National UFO Reporting Center at 3:20 a.m. on Friday, some eight hours after the sightings on the previous night, and reported that two USAF F-15c fighters had been 'scrambled' from Luke AFB, and had intercepted one of the objects. Although the presence of F-15's could never be confirmed, the airman provided detailed information which proved to be highly accurate, based on what investigators would reconstruct from witnesses over subsequent weeks and months. Two days after his first telephone call, the airman called to report that he had just been informed by his commander that he was being transferred to an assignment in Greenland. He has never been heard from again since that telephone call.

The Flare Theory
The Phoenix lights case is not without its controversy, much of which originated from the Air Force. In May of 1997, Luke AFB Public Affairs Office stated that Air Force personnel had investigated the so-called "UFOs," and had solved the case. They claimed that flares dropped from an A-10 "Warthog" had caused the numerous reports of night lights. This explanation is totally unfounded for several reasons. First of all, flares do not move in unison, fall toward the ground, and then fly back up into the air, and move across many miles without changing their relative positions. Secondly, many witnesses had made reports of the giant lights hours before the reported time of the launch of the flares. This would not be end of the Phoenix lights. Sightings over the Phoenix area have continued to this day, supported by eyewitness accounts, photographs and video.


First observed in a hexagram pattern at about 7:30 PM over the Superstition Mountains area east of Phoenix, the characteristic 8+1 formation of amber orbs was next seen in two separate arc patterns with "trailing lights" over the Gila River area at about 9:50 and again at 10:00 at the southern edge of Phoenix, were they were seen by thousands and videotaped by a handful who had camcorders close enough at hand to catch the fleeting minutes of their displays.

These amateur videos have immortalized the orb formations, becoming soon known the world over as "The Phoenix Lights".

The last appearance of the hovering orbs of the night, this time in a distinct vee formation, was in the now-recognized " hot spot" of Rainbow Valley at about 2:00 AM on March 14, where they later reappeared on 1/14/98.


First seen leaving the Henderson-Las Vegas area and entering Arizona at high speed, a vee-formation of five to seven orbs, variously seen as bright blue-white to a yellow-white, came through the Prescott Valley area at low altitude by 7:50 PM, turning south, where by 8:28, were videotaped (displaying their characteristic movement within the formation) at the north end of the valley that comprises the Phoenix metro area. In an apparent slower mode of flight, the orbs appeared at the point as "amber" in color formation moved along interstate 10 angling toward Tucson after having been visually seen (but not so on radar) to intersect air traffic coming in on approach to Sky Harbor International Airport.

After hovering for several minutes over a car full of witnesses driving north on I-10 (at 65 mph!), the formation was then picked up by observers in the Oracle area who reported the orbs' color as red to red-orange before the formation split up, going in separate directions while skirting the edges of the Tucson metropolitan area.

At various points independent of this very specific formation, individual orbs were seen to shoot across the metro Phoenix valley, with some seen moving away from and then re-attaching with one or more of the Very Large Objects (VLOs) which came through later in the night.


Observed first as a 'vee formation' of five white lights moving slowly and silently toward Prescott Valley from the northwest at about 8:15, the 'Chevron' was soon clearly seen as a single object.

The huge craft made a pivot turn over the witnesses' home while the lights shifted into an arc formation while turning to red, and upon doing so, it suddenly shot off at blinding speed toward Phoenix. Meanwhile, the next set of witnesses in central Phoenix saw the object coming directly toward them (estimated at mach 2 to 3) while still in the 'fast mode' arc configuration and then, as if to slow back down again, was seen to change back into a vee; whereupon it cruised silently and slowly right over their heads (only 100' to 200' up at 10 to 15 mph).

The craft was later seen to zigzag through the valley, even changing altitude at various points and hovering for five minutes at the edge of Sky harbor before proceeding south (right over the Village Labs building) to Interstate 10.

After following I-10 several miles to Picacho Peak, the enormous craft (estimated at 900' or more on each leading edge and more than a mile in length to its 'taillights') hovered once again for ten to fifteen minutes there, after which we lose track of it. This is a possible 'docking' point for this craft and the giant triangle that followed it down I-10 some fifteen minutes later.

This same 'Chevron' or a similar craft was seen traveling east to west over north Phoenix at about 10:50 PM that night.


This vee formation, consisting of five groups of three lights, was confirmed to be a single, huge object by various Prescott-area witnesses, being equivalent to a formation of five 747s flying absolutely lock-step in formation toward Phoenix.

This VLO was later seen (although not clearly enough to identify) by an America West pilot who called Sky Harbor tower wondering what "those nine lights were", and an amateur astronomer in Phoenix who wrote it off as a formation of conventional airplanes.


Observed clearly by a Mesa family among others in their area at about 8:45 to 8:55pm, this 'enormous' craft was seen to have definite structure to it complete with panels in a grid pattern along with lights at each of the three corners and a larger center light. Multiple witnesses confirm its northwest to southeast flight path through the eastern part of the valley, with some observers seeing one or more orbs leaving and then re-attaching with this VLO at various points. This particular craft was even seen to 'split in two' as it was seen heading toward the Tucson area around 9:00pm by the last witnesses to report seeing it.


By all accounts the largest of the VLOs in the March 13 'demonstration', this gigantic craft was first seen at close range over north Phoenix between 8:30 and 8:45pm where the key witnesses (real estate people who subdivided the area) estimated its size to be as much as two miles wide. Its flight path brought it low to the ground at this point (less than 2,000') where it was seen to not only have dozens of lights along its leading edges, but also a row of windows wherein the silhouettes of 'people' were observed.

At some point further south, other witnesses reported that they saw nothing but the row of windows with beings (also in silhouette) as all of the lights were off at that point.

By the time this VLO was seen over I-10 south of Casa Grande, however three large lights were seen to be turned on, one at each corner, with smaller lights on along with the leading point light. The witnesses here reported that it took them one to two minutes to drive under this immense ship while they were driving at 80 mph. They estimated the width of this VLO to be at least two, possibly three miles wide and big enough for a C5-A Galaxy or 'Condor' troop transport (the largest conventional aircraft known) to land upon it.

The craft had definite structure to it and the family of witnesses described its color as a flat blue-black, 'like the color of a shotgun barrel'. This craft (or one like it) was seen later in north Phoenix at around 9:30pm that night during one of the military jet/UFO interception attempts, and again moving across the valley from west to east at about 10:45 PM.


Witnessed first by a retired airline pilot, his sons and a friend and seen coming down Scottsdale Road at about 10:20 PM, this huge circular craft, featuring amber lights around its perimeter (at an estimated one mile in diameter), was seen to make a purposeful turn toward Sky Harbor at about Camelback Road where it also intersected air traffic before disappearing from view over South Mountain.

The corroborating central Phoenix witness, also a former pilot (Vietnam) and retired U.S. Marshal, described how the craft both reflected the city lights on its underbelly and blocked out the stars with its upper half, attesting to its being a single craft of spectacular, "mile-wide" proportions.

This witness also videotaped what he saw from the roof of his apartment building, but his tapes mysteriously disappeared in what may amount to a genuine 'men in black' episode (not government agents!).

This craft may also possibly have been attached to the 'chevron' vee craft and hidden in some type of 'stealth mode' in its earlier pass through Phoenix at about 8:20 to 8:30. The two craft reappeared (or two like them) last June and were photographed together at high altitude over Phoenix by the same witnesses with a 35 mm camera while also viewing them with binoculars. A separate set of unconnected witnesses also reported the sighting of a huge discoid craft ('bigger than Sun Devil Stadium at ASU') hovering at treetop level right off of the west end of the Sky Harbor runways at between 2:00 and 3:00 AM one morning about two weeks before March 13.

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